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Timon Sloane Blog

Painting Large Format Plein Air (Outdoors)

Plein air paintings (those done outdoors) tend to be smaller so they can be painted faster and to make the equipment and transportation easier.  I've been known to take large studio pieces back on location to finish them.  I have found these pieces have a special energy and lighting effects that are hard to capture in the studio even when working from location studies. 

Recently, to shake things up, I decided to do a large 24x30 pieces entirely outdoors.

To pull this off, I first lucked out and saw a nice sequence of good weather coming through for the week.  

On day one I went out and did a few studies.  From these, I picked the scene I wanted to do.  Making things even more difficult, my favorite study was done late in the day.  I was in love with the evening light and wanted to capture this in the larger piece.  This makes things even harder because the late light moves very fast and can be challenging to get even when painting small.

Day two I went out and did the vast majority of the painting.  Here's a look at my setup at the end of that day:

So on day three I went back and occupied myself doing other paintings until the late day approached.  Late in the day I set up the big painting again and worked on enhancing the color and pushing 'life' into the piece.

"Warm Winter", 24x30, Oil

I did this project on a soltek easel with a large palette.  As you can see in the picture, I've been using a large gatorfoam palette cut to fit into the 'wings' of the soltek easel.  I keep it locked in with binder clips along the edges.

I've also been experimenting with a new product called the 'Palette Garage' (http://palettegarage.com/).  I've been using this to hold my wet paint in this palette configuration.  This is an 'L shaped' plastic tray clipped to the top of my palette.  I squeeze all my wet paint into this, and then slip this into a sealed tub for transport and storage.  It also helps keep the paint wet.

All-in-all a fun project.  When conditions allow, I'll give it another go and maybe even try going larger.